NBAA Offers Guidelines For VLJ Pilot Training

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The manufacturers of very light jets (VLJs) are taking a hard look at the unique risks that exist for their (future) products ... and it's a very long list. The National Business Aviation Association has compiled the list as part of its recommended training guidelines for VLJ pilots. Many of the anticipated risks occur because the jets will be operating on high-altitude airways and at high-traffic airports, where they will be mixing it up with much bigger jets. The VLJs will face jet-blast encounters on the ground, wake turbulence in the pattern and en route, weather hazards and aerodynamic challenges unique to high altitudes, and the stresses of single-pilot operation in a complex environment. The training aims to minimize those risks, and NBAA urges VLJ pilots to fly with an ATP-rated "mentor pilot" until they are proficient in all flight regimes. The decision as to when a VLJ pilot can fly solo "should be collaborative with the pilot, training provider and insurance underwriter," says NBAA. The FAA, Adam Aircraft, Cessna Aircraft, Eclipse Aircraft, training providers and insurance providers worked with NBAA to develop the guidelines. NBAA defines the VLJs as jet aircraft weighing 10,000 pounds or less, certificated for single-pilot operations, and with some or all of these features: advanced cockpit automation, automated engine and systems management, and integrated autoflight, autopilot and flight-guidance systems.